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Should Smartphones be Restricted in Restaus?
VeInteractive | August 29, 2012
If you have been out to eat anywhere in the past year, you have been witness to the new, disruptive sensation that has been taking restaurants by storm. That sensation being the overwhelming amount of diners utilizing their smartphones at the table. Whether snapping shots of picturesque plates or making memories with friends, it is practically impossible to eat somewhere and not see a smartphone.
In response to this rapid new routine, restaurants around the world are in control of whether they will permit or prohibit this behavior as a business. Prior to the international addiction that is social media, diners’ only potential interruption would be a friendly phone call or an innocent notification.
This conflict has created a new opportunity for restaurants. A company in California recently decided to meet somewhere in the middle – they offer an incentive for diners to leave their cell phone at the door in exchange for a discount. That way, their customers have the freedom of choice, but do not necessarily have to dine the same the next time.
As a technology company with data-driven services, we’re no stranger to the power of social media, or the serious control it has over people. On the other hand, everyone has been asked by friends or family to put down their smartphone and engage in person at one point or another.
So should restaurants ban smartphones?
We’re aware that people of all ages will have different perspectives, experiences and opinions. So, we will leave you with some of the most important pro’s and con’s of banning them, and let you decide where you stand in the comments. Enjoy!
Pros of Banning Smartphone Use
1. More business.
Let’s say the average meal for two people takes an hour and a half to consume. If you consider their time spent texting, taking pictures and sharing online, you can easily add on another hour. As we all know, time is money – so if a restaurant is banning smartphones and eliminating distractions, they’re automatically getting more business. While this pro may not seem significant to diners, smart restaurant owners have recognized that they could lose all kinds of business to people pro-longing their stay for social media.
2. More face-to-face time.
Imagine a first date where the person is on their smartphone the whole time? By banning smartphones entirely, there is no opportunity for distraction. It is a great way to ensure that people have the most personable experience possible.
3. Keeping peace with diners who are physically present.
Chances are if you’re in a restaurant, you are trying to enjoy your meal in peace. Regardless of whether you choose to take out your own smartphone, you can guarantee other people will be – and a restaurant does not want to have a reputation of social media butterflies. Eliminating smartphone use will ensure that all diners are socially satisfied in the restaurant’s atmosphere.
Cons of Banning Smartphone Use
1. No viral witnesses to diner behavior via social media.
This con is arguably the best case for keeping smartphones at the table. With the power of social media, a dinner between two or four people can be shared around the world. A couple eating lobster in Boston can “check in” on Facebook, upload an image on Instagram, tweet a picture on Twitter and much, much more. By banning smartphone usage, this user-generated content, or “free advertising” for restaurants, is completely missed out on.
2. Missed Business.
If you are running a successful restaurant that tons of locals rave about and then you suddenly crack down on smartphone usage, it may push them to the point of no return. The last thing a business owner wants to do is drive customers away because of a sudden change that upsets them. After all, if you worked so hard to get loyal diners, why would you want to disappoint them?
What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments!
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